City Creation: Businesses

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What kind of businesses does a town need? Despite what fantasy games might imply, towns are more than just the ubiquitous taverns, inns, weaponsmiths, armorers and magic shops we usually see. Most of a town’s business will be to support its own residents, not adventurers, which means that town the PCs are passing through likely doesn’t even have a weaponsmith.

So what kind of businesses does Meadowbrook have? Let’s make a list of businesses the town’s permanent residents are likely to need:

  • millers (everybody needs grain ground)
  • beer-makers (in medieval Europe, everyone drank beer, even kids. It was safer than the water)
  • shoemakers
  • tailors/clothiers
  • barbers (who also frequently functioned as town doctors)
  • pot-makers (tinkerers)
  • butchers
  • weavers
  • masons and bricklayers (and makers)
  • coopers
  • tanners
  • leather workers/saddle and harness makers
  • fishmongers
  • blacksmiths
  • rope-makers
  • dyers
  • farmer’s markets where town-dweller can buy fruits and vegetables
  • food vendors
  • pub or tavern
  • chandlers

A port town, such as Meadowbrook, would also need:

  • boat-handlers
  • dockworkers
  • hostlers
  • banks/moneychangers
  • inns (these are only necessary if the town gets many non-residents)
  • bath-houses (not actually a necessity, but certainly plausible in a fantasy game setting).

While the town doesn’t need the following, they tend to show up in urban areas anyway:

  • beggars
  • brothels / streetwalkers

And some favorite fantasy institutions:

  • thieves’ guilds
  • assassins’ guilds
  • magic shops

Next post: Business demographics

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